Phil Aurbach has been an attorney for 42 years, as a prosecutor and in private practice, primarily in business litigation. Aurbach has raised $149,730 and has $12,776 on hand as of October 15.
Aurbach graduated the University of San Diego School of Law in 1977 and returned to Las Vegas, where he went to work for the District Attorney’s Office.
He entered private practice a few years later. He’s been an arbitrator and settlement judge for the Nevada Supreme Court.
“We need more than personal injury judges,” Aurbach says. His opponent, Nadia Krall, is a personal injury attorney.
Aurbach says judges in Clark County lack trial experience, which he says is essential to running a courtroom.
“They don’t know evidence. They don’t know what’s admissible,” he says. “I had a couple of trials in front of bad judges. I had to file appeals.”.
Aurbach says the biggest surprise as a veteran litigator and novice candidate is the “negative advertising.”
His opponent’s campaign posted an ad criticizing Aurbach for being endorsed by U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, referred to in the ad as a “Democratic Socialist.” Krall’s campaign manager, Sarah Cirillo told the Current Krall ordered the ad removed upon learning of it.
“I thought this would be a cakewalk. I’ve been here so many years,” says Aurbach, who came in second to Krall in the primary. “I had the overconfidence knocked out of me.”
Aurbach says he welcomes the opportunity to oversee criminal trials and impose thoughtful sentences, when necessary.
He says sentencing depends on the defendant, “not what the community wants. Each sentence should be tailored to that offender and the crime they committed.”
Among the factors he’d consider at sentencing — the presence of a family support system, and whether drugs or mental illness is a factor in the crime.
Aurbach says the state’s new policy of deducting 100 percent of an inmate’s funds to go toward restitution “seems quite onerous. I have sent money and I would not have done that if it had gone to restitution.”
He says in ordering restitution, he “certainly would have compassion for both sides. It seems like a moderate position would be not to take everything.”
Aurbach says he’s also concerned with access to justice for those who can’t afford attorneys in civil cases.
“It’s like a foreign language. You’re held to the same standard as an attorney. That’s sad.”
The Legislature has changed the limit so that if a lawsuit is small you have somewhat of an access to justice through the Justice Court,” he says. “If it’s a large suit and you don’t have the money, unfortunately, the only thing available is a new chapter in your life, Chapter 7 or Chapter 11.”
Krall did not appear for a scheduled interview with the Current.
Cirillo is defending her dual role as campaign manager and as the officer of PhonyPhil PAC, a political action committee targeting Aurbach. Cirillo, who is transgender, used her previous name, Michael Cirillo, on the PAC registration form.
“All PAC and Campaign activity has been undertaken in accordance with Nevada Revised Statutes,” according to Cirillo, who says she is the sole officer and funder of the PAC.
Krall’s website says she’s been a judge pro tem in Las Vegas Justice Court and served as a mediator in the state’s foreclosure mediation program. She also serves as an arbitrator in Clark County District Court.
She’s raised about $285,625 and has $2,385 on hand as of October 15.